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SIGNIFICANT DOCTRINES IN CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

JURISDICTION

For jurisdiction to be acquired by a court in a criminal case, the offense should have been committed or any one of its essential ingredients should have taken place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. (Abalos vs. People, G.R. No. 136994,

09/17/2002)

The rule therefore, in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution or criminal cases even while the case is already in court, he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. The determination of the case is within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal should be addressed to the court which has the option to grant or deny the same. It does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the accused or that motion was filed after an investigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the investigation. (Santos vs. Orda, Jr., G.R. No. 158236, 10/25/2004)

VENUE

Venue

in

criminal

cases

is

an

essential element of jurisdiction.

Experience has shown that under the old rule, the offended party could harass the accused in a libel case by laying the venue of the criminal action in remote or distant places.

The residence of a person is his personal, actual or physical habitation or actual residence or place of abode or his actual residence or place of abode provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency. The term residence involves the idea of something beyond a transient stay in the place – one who transacts business in a place and spends considerable time thereat does not render such a person a resident therein.

The absence of any allegations in the information that the offended party was actually residing where the crimes charged were allegedly committed is a

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substantial

Pamintuan, G.R. No. 164938, 8/22/20005) INFORMATION

defect.

(Agustin

vs.

The real nature of the offense

charged is to be ascertained by the facts alleged in the body of the information and punishment provided by law, not by the title or caption given by the prosecutor. (Guinhawa vs. People, G.R. No. 162822,

8/25/2005)

In Crespo vs. Mogul, the Court held

that once a criminal complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the case or dismissal or acquittal or conviction of the accused rests with the exclusive jurisdiction, competence and discretion of the court. The trial court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. A motion to dismiss the case filed by the public prosecutor should be addressed to the court that has the option to deny or grant the same. Contrary to the contention of the petitioner, the rule applies to a motion to withdraw the information or to dismiss the case even before or after arraignment of the accused. The only qualification is that the action of the court must not impair the substantial rights of the accused or the right of the people or the private complainant to dismiss the case, or to quash the information, or to withdraw the information in compliance with the directive of the Secretary of Justice, or to deny the said motion. It does so not out of subservience to or defiance of the directive of the Secretary of Justice but in sound exercise of its judicial prerogative. (Santos vs. Orda Jr., G.R. No. 158236,

10/25/04)

Where an information is already

filed in court, the remedies available to a private complainant are within the courts, not elsewhere. The information had been filed and pending in the RTC. Therefore, the discretion whether to dismiss the information lay in the same court, as well as the discretion to reverse its order of dismissal. (Baltazar vs. Pantig, G.R. No. 149111, 8/9/2005)

An order granting the withdrawal of

the information attains finality after 15 days from receipt thereof, without prejudice to the re-filing of the information upon reinvestigation. An order granting a motion to dismiss becomes final 15 days after receipt thereof, with prejudice to the re-filing of the same case once such order

achieves finality. (Torres, Jr. vs. Aguinaldo, G.R. No. 164268, 6/28/2005)

part of the records, the defect in the latter is effectively cured, and the accused cannot successfully invoke the defense

WAIVER

OF

OBJECTIONS

TO

THE

that his right to be informed is violated.

VALIDITY

OF

THE

INFORMATION:

EXCEPTIONS

It is basic that entering a plea

waives any objection the accused may have to the validity of the information except on the following grounds: (1) the information charges no offense; (2) the trial court has no jurisdiction over the offense charged; (3) the penalty or the offense has been extinguished, and; (4) double jeopardy has attached.

The irregular procedure followed by the dissent would encourage the pernicious practice of ‘sandbagging’ where counsel foregoes raising a pleading defect before trial where it can be easily corrected only to raise the defect later in the hope of obtaining an arrest of judgment or new trial from a sympathetic magistrate. (Miranda vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 154098, 7/27/2005)

SUFFICIENCY

OF

INFORMATION

The fundamental test in

determining the sufficiency of the material averments of an information is whether or not the facts alleged therein, which are hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime defined by law.

The court has ruled that evidence aliunde or matters extrinsic of the information are not to be considered. Sec. 3(a) of Rule 117 of the Rules of Court authorizes the quashal of an information when the facts therein do not amount to an offense. The fundamental test in reflecting on the viability of a motion to quash under this particular ground is whether or not the facts asserted, if hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime defined in the law. In this examination, matters aliunde are not considered. Anent the sufficiency of the information, Sec. 6 of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court requires, inter alia, that the information must state the acts or omissions so complained of as constitutive of the element of the offense. (Cabrerra vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 162314-17, 10/25/2004)

While it is necessary to allege the

essential elements of the crime in the information, failure to do so is not an irremediable vice. When the complaint or the resolution by the public prosecutor, which contains the missing averments, is attached to the information, and forms

The character of the crime is not determined by the caption or preamble of the information nor from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated but by the recital of the ultimate facts and circumstances in the complaint or information. (Olivarez vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 163866,

7/29/2005)

The acts or omissions complained of

must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged and enable the court to know the proper judgment. The information must allege clearly and accurately the elements of the crime charged. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definition and elements of the specific crimes. The purpose of the requirement of alleging all the elements of the crime in the information is to inform an accused of the nature of the accusations against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare for his defense. Another purpose is to enable the accused, if found guilty, to plead his conviction in a subsequent prosecution for the same offense. The use of derivatives or synonymous allegations of the basic facts constituting the offense charged is sufficient.

It is not necessary to allege in the amended information a pattern of overt criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy because as Sec. 3 of R.A. No. 7080 specifically provides that the same is evidentiary and the general rule is that matters of evidence need not be alleged in the information. (Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148468, 01/28/2003; Laurel vs. Abrogar, 483 SCRA 243, March 27, 2006)

RIGHT TO BE INFORMED

Where the date of the check and

the amount thereof as stated in the information vary with the exhibits submitted by the prosecution, which inconsistencies violate the accused’s right to be informed, he should be acquitted. Without a sufficient identification of the

dishonored check in the information, the conviction of the accused should be set aside for being violative of the constitutional requirement of due process. (Ongson vs. People, G.R. No. 156169,

8/12/2005)

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ALLEGATION

AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES

OF

GENERIC

A generic aggravating circumstance

must be alleged in the information if its appreciation would result in raising the penalty from reclusion perpetua to death. (People vs. Herrera, G.R. No. 140557-58,

12/05/2001)

ALLEGATION

CIRCUMSTANCES

OF

QUALIFYING

The fact that the qualifying

circumstances were recited in the second paragraph and not in the first paragraph of the information, as commonly done, is a matter of form or style for which the provincial prosecutor decided to write the information differently, did not impair its sufficiency. Nothing in the law prohibits the prosecutor from adopting such a form or style. As long as the requirements of the law are observed, the information will pass judicial scrutiny. (People vs. Lab-eo, G.R. No. 133438, 01/16/2002)

DUPLICITY OF THE OFFENSE

There is duplicity (or multiplicity) of

charges when a single Information carries more than one offense. The Rules of

Criminal Procedure prohibit the filing of such Information to avoid confusing the accused in preparing his defense. (Loney vs. People, 482 SCRA 194, February 10,

2006)

As a general rule, the complaint or

information must charge only one offense. The remedy of petitioner would have been to move to quash at any time before entering a plea on the ground that more than one offense was charged in the information. The failure of petitioner to assert this ground in a motion to quash before she pleaded to the information is deemed a waiver. Consequently, she may be validly convicted as many offenses as are charged in the Information.

That the information was not so worded in the terms defining the offense is not fatal for the prosecution. It has long been established that it is not necessary that the acts and omissions complained of as constituting the offense be stated in the terms of the statute defining the offense. (Herrera vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 140651, 02/19/2002)

FAILURE TO OBJECT

DUPLICITY OF THE OFFENSE IS DEEMED A WAIVER

THE

ON

3

The Rules of Court, particularly Sec.

13 of Rule 110, indeed frown upon multiple offenses being charge in a single information. However, petitioner failed to raise the issues during arraignment. His failure to do so amounts to a waiver and his objections on this point can no longer be raised on appeal. (Abalos vs. People, G.R. No. 136884, 09/17/2002)

COMPLEX CRIME

Where a complex crime is charged

and the evidence fails to support the charge as to one of the component offenses, the accused can be convicted of the other. It is fundamental that every element of the offense must be alleged in the complaint or information to comply with the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the offense charged and to enable him to set forth his defenses. The accused is presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense.

It is also settled that an accused cannot be convicted of an offense higher than that with which he is charged in the complaint of information or one which is necessarily included in the offense charged. The law accords him such benefit to guarantee him his constitutional rights as an accused. (People vs. Rama, G.R. No. 144386, 01/23/2002)

AVERMENT

COMMISSION OF OFFENSE

OF

THE

DATE

OF

Sec. 11 of Rule 110 of the 2000

Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure lays down two rules with respect to the averment of the date of commission of the offense in the complaint or information:

(1) where time is not a material ingredient of the offense, it is sufficient that the information alleges that the act constitutive of the offense was committed at the time as near to the actual date when the same was carried out, but; (2) where time is a material ingredient of the offense, it must be correctly alleged in the information. (People vs. Dinglasan, G.R. No. 1333645, 09/17/2002)

INTERVENTION OF THE OFFENDED PARTY IN CRIMINAL ACTION:

EXCEPTIONS

An offended party may intervene in

the prosecution of a crime, except in the following instances: (1) when from the nature of the crime and the law defining and punishing it, no civil liability arises in favor of a private offended party, and; (2) when from the nature of the offense, the offended parties are entitled to civil

indemnity, but (a) they waive the right to institute a civil action, (b) expressly reserve the right to do so, or; (c) the suit has already been instituted. In any of these instances, the private complainant’s interest in the case disappears and criminal prosecution becomes the sole function of the public prosecutor. (Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada. G.R. No. 155531-34, 7/29/2005)

NATURE

INVESTIGATION

OF

PRELIMINARY

Preliminary investigation is executive in character and does not contemplate a judicial function. Generally, preliminary investigation falls under the authority of the prosecutor. (Torres, Jr. vs. Aguinaldo, G.R. No. 164268, 6/29/ 2005)

RIGHT

INVESTIGATION:

PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION

TO

PRELIMINARY

OF

ABSENCE

It bears stressing that the preliminary investigation is not a constitutional right, but merely a right conferred by statute. The absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the validity of the information or otherwise render the same defective. It does not affect the jurisdiction of the court over the case or constitute a ground for quashing the information. It does not render the information invalid nor affects the jurisdiction of the court over the case. And with more reason can it be said that the denial of a motion for reinvestigation cannot invalidate the information or oust the court of its jurisdiction over the case, neither can it be said that petitioner had been deprived of due process.

The purpose of a preliminary investigation is merely to determine whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the person accused of the crime is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. As the court held in Webb vs. De Leon, the finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed and that the suspect is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. Probable cause does not need to be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt.

Absent any showing of arbitrariness on the part of the prosecutor or any other officer authorized to conduct preliminary investigation, courts as a rule must defer to said officer’s finding and determination of probable cause, since the determination

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of the existence of probable cause is the

function of the prosecutor.

The ruling in Rolito Go vs. Court of Appeals that an accused shall not be

deemed to have waive his right to ask for

a preliminary investigation after he had

been arraigned over his objection and despite his insistence on the conduct of

the said investigation prior to the trial on the merits does not apply in the instant case because petitioner merely prayed for

a reinvestigation on the ground of a

newly-discovered evidence. (Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148468,

01/28/2003)

Although the right to a preliminary

investigation is not a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution but a mere statutory right privilege, it is nonetheless considered a component part of due process in criminal justice. (Ong vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 126858,

9/16/2005)

A preliminary investigation is not a

trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of determining

whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof and it does not place the person against whom it

is taken in jeopardy. (De Ocampo vs.

Secretary of Justice, 479 SCRA 71, 2006;

Romualdez vs. Marcelo, G.R. No. 165510- 33, 9/23/2005)

While probable cause should be

determined in a summary procedure, there is a need to examine evidence with care to prevent damage to the potential accused’s constitutional right to liberty and guarantees of freedom and fair play. (Preferred Home Specialties, Inc. vs. CA, 477 SCRA 387, 2006)

Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.

Under the new rules of procedure, preliminary investigation has only one stage. Presidential Decree 911, upon which the present rule is based, removed the preliminary examination stage and integrated it into the preliminary investigation proper. Now, the proceedings consist only one stage. (Almonte vs. Bien, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1532,

6/27/2005)

1985 Rules on Criminal

Procedure did away with the two-stage preliminary investigation and, in its place,

The

provided

a

single

and

continuous

proceeding.

The investigation judge, if he does not dismiss outright the complaint, must issue a subpoena to the respondent notifying him to submit his counter- affidavit even after the investigating judge had issued a warrant of arrest. (Gozun vs. Gozum, A.M. No. MTJ-00- 1324, 10/5/2005)

It is basic that in the preliminary

investigation of a criminal offense, the municipal trial judge has no legal authority to determine the character of the crime – it is the prosecutor who has the power to determine the character of the crime or to change the designation of the crime as may be warranted by the facts. (Bitoon vs. Toledo-Mupas, A.M. No. MTJ-05-1598,

8/9/2005)

An investigating judge, after

conducting a preliminary investigation, shall perform her ministerial duty which is to transmit within ten days after the conclusion thereof the resolution of the case together with the entire records to the provincial prosecutor, regardless of her belief or opinion of the crime committed, after conducting the preliminary investigation which falls within the original jurisdiction of her court. (Loss of Court Exhibits at MTC-Dasmarińas, Cavite, Adm. Matter No. MTJ-03-1491,

6/8/2005)

RIGHT

INVESTIGATION DOES NOT INCLUDE

TO PRELIMINARY

RIGHT TO CROSS-EXAMINE

Section 3(e) of Rule 112

provides that parties in a preliminary investigation have no right to examine or cross-examine.

to be heard and for the production of and weighing of evidence, and a decision is rendered thereon.

The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer duly empowered to preside or to conduct a preliminary investigation is no less than a municipal judge or even a regional trial court judge. While the investigating officer, strictly speaking, is not a “judge” by the nature of his functions, he is and must be considered to be quasi-judicial officer because a preliminary investigation is considered a judicial proceeding. A preliminary investigation should therefore be conducted so that the constitutional right to liberty of a potential accused can be protected from any material damage. (Sales vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 143802, 11/16/2001)

CLARIFICATORY HEARING DURING PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS MERELY DISCRETIONARY

A clarificatory hearing is not

indispensable during preliminary investigation. Under Section 3(e) of Rule 112, it is within the discretion of the investigating officer whether to set the case for further hearings to clarify some matters. (De Ocampo vs. Secretary of Justice, 479 SCRA 71, 2006)

WARRANTS OF ARREST

Judges do not conduct a de

novo hearing to determine the existence of probable cause - they just personally review the initial determination of the prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence. (De Joya vs. Marquez, 481 SCRA 376, January 31, 2006)

OBJECTION IN RELATION TO WARRANT OF ARREST

 

The

accused

in

a

preliminary

The rule is settled that any objection involving a warrant of arrest or

11/14/2001)

investigation has no right

to

cross-

procedure in the acquisition by the court

examine

the

witness

which

the

of jurisdiction over the person of an

complainant may present. (Genil vs. Rivera, 479 SCRA 363, 2006)

accused must be made before he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. In other words, it is too

DENIAL

 

OF

PRELIMINARY

late for accused-appellant to raise an issue

INVESTIGATION

 

about his warrantless arrest after he pleaded to a valid information and after a

To deny the accused’s claim to a

judgment of conviction was rendered

preliminary investigation would be to deprive him of the full measure of his right to due process.

against him after a full-blown trial. (People vs. Whisenhunt, G.R. No. 123819,

A preliminary investigation has been called a judicial inquiry. It is a judicial proceeding when there is an opportunity

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IRREGULARITY

Any irregularity attendant to his arrest, if any, was cured when he voluntary submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the trial court by entering a plea of not guilty and by participating in the trial. Moreover, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after trial free from error. (People vs. Dela Cruz, G.R. Nos. 141162-63, 07/11/2002)

We agree with the appellant that

she was not one of the accused named in the search warrants. However, such fact did not proscribe the policeman from arresting her and charging her for violation of R.A. No. 6425, as amended. There was probable cause for her warrantless arrest independent of that found by the judge when he issued the search warrant against Lao and Chan for search of the condominium units at Atlantic drive and Cityland.

Probable cause exists for the warrantless detention and arrest of one at the premises being searched when the facts and the circumstances within their knowledge and of which they had reliable and trustworthy information are sufficient to themselves to warrant a reasonable belief of a cautious person that an offense has been or is being committed. It has been held that information from a reliable informant, corroborated by the police officer’s observations as to the accuracy of the description of the accused, and of his presence at a particular place, is sufficient to establish probable cause. In this case, the police officers received reliable information and verified, after surveillance, that appellant Lee and Lao were living together as husband and wife in the condominium unit and the appellant Lee handled the accounting of the payment of the illegal drug activities of Lao. Indeed, the policemen found that the appellant occupied the bedroom and slept in the same bed used by Lao. The appellant took her clothes from the same cabinet where the subject shabu and paraphernalia were found. The appellant had been living in the same condominium unit with Lao since October 1, 1996 until her arrest on October 25, 1996. Along with Lao, the appellant thus had joint control and possession of the bedroom, as well as of the articles, paraphernalia, and the shabu found therein. Such facts and circumstances are sufficient on which to base a reasonable belief that the appellant had joint possession of the regulated drugs found in the bedroom along with Lao, her live-in-partner. For the purpose of prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Law, possession can be

constructive and need not be exclusive, but may be joint. (People vs. Huang Zhen Hua, G.R. No. 139301, 9/29/2004)

Aside

from

the

fact

that

the

respondent

judge

had

sufficiently

explained why the warrant of arrest is

dated

important thing is that the warrant of

issued

implementation before the filing of the complaint. (Batic vs. Galapon, A.M. No. MTJ-99-1239, 7/29/2005)

arrest was not

for

the

earlier

that

the

complaint,

or

released

ASSAILING THE LEGALITY OF ARREST

The rule is that an accused is

estopped from assailing the legality of his arrest if he failed to move to quash the

information against him before his arraignment. Any objection involving the

arrest of the procedure in the acquisition

by

the court of jurisdiction over the person

of

an accused must be made before he

enters his plea, otherwise, the objection is

deemed waived. Even in the instances not allowed by law, a warrantless arrest is not

a jurisdictional defect, and objection

thereto is waived where the person arrested submits to arraignment without objection. The subsequent filing of the charges and the issuance of the corresponding warrant of arrest against a person illegally detained will cure the defect of that detention. (People vs. Bongalon, G.R. No. 125025, 01/23/2002)

WARRANTLESS ARREST

Under the Rules, peace officers

may, without a warrant, arrest a person under any of these circumstances: (1) When, in their presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit,

an offense; (2) When an offense has just

been committed, and they have probable cause to believe, based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be arrested has committed it, and; (3) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another, or from a penal establishment where he or she is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while the case is pending. (People vs. Samus, G.R. No. 135957-58, 09/17/2002)

QUASHAL OF WARRANT OF ARREST

6

for

review the resolution of the assistant prosecutor was filed with the Secretary of Justice before the issuance of the warrants of arrest, the fact remains that the

Even

if

the

petition

pendency of a petition for the review of the prosecutor’s resolution is not a ground to quash the warrants of arrest. (Miranda vs. Tuliao, 486 SCRA 377, March 31, 2006)

BASIS OF WARRANTLESS ARREST

Personal knowledge of facts in

arrests without a warrant under Sec. 5(b) of Rule 113 must be based upon probable cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense is based on actual facts, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officer making the arrest.

The accused waived his objections on the alleged irregularity of their arrest, considering that they pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and participated in the trial. Any defect in their arrest must be deemed cured when they voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. For the legality of an arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the accused. Consequently, if objections based on this ground are waived, the fact that the arrest was illegal is not a sufficient cause for setting aside an otherwise valid judgment rendered after a trial, free from error. Technicality cannot render subsequent proceedings void and deprive the State of its right to convict the guilty when all the facts on record point to the culpability of the accused. (People vs. Escordial, G.R. Nos. 138934-35, 01/16/2002)

KNOCK

PRINCIPLE/NO KNOCK RULE

AND

ANNOUNCE

Sec. 7 of Rule 126 of the Revised

Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

Right to break door or window to effect search. – The officer, if refused admittance to the place of directed search after giving notice of his purpose and authority, may break open any outer or inner door or window of a house or any part of a house or anything therein to execute the warrant or liberate himself or any person unlawfully detained therein.

The police officers were obliged to give the appellant notice, show her their authority, and demand that they be allowed entry. They may only break open any outer window or door of a house to

7

execute the warrant if, after such notice and demand, such officers are refused entry to the place of directed search. This is known as the knock and announce principle, which is embodied in Anglo- American Law. The method of entry of an officer into the dwelling and the presence and absence of such notice are as important considerations in assessing whether subsequent entry to search and/or arrest is constitutionally reasonable.

Unannounced intrusion into the premises is permissible when (1) a party whose premises or is entitled to the possession thereof refuses, upon demand to open it; (2) when such person in the premises already knew of the identity of the officers and of their authority and persons; (3) when the officers are justified in the honest belief that there is an imminent peril to life or limb, and; (4) when those in the premises, aware of the presence of someone outside are then engaged in activity which justifies the officers to believe that an escape or the destruction of the evidence is being attempted.

However, the exceptions above are not exclusive or conclusive. In order to justify a “no knock” entry, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstance, would be dangerous or futile, or that it would inhibit the effective investigation of the crime by, for example, allowing the destruction of evidence. This standard, as opposed to a probable cause requirement, strikes the appropriate balance between the legitimate law enforcement concerns at issue in the execution of search warrants and the individual privacy interest affected by “no knock” entries. (People vs. Huang Zhen Hua, G.R. No. 139301, 9/29/ 2004)

SEARCH INCIDENT TO LAWFUL ARREST; BUY – BUST OPERATION

Sec. 13 of Rule 126 of the Revised

Rules of Criminal Procedures explicitly states that, a person lawfully arrested maybe searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may have been used or constituted proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant. Undoubtedly, appellant was lawfully arrested, caught as he was in flagrante delicto as a result of a buy-bust operation conducted by the police officers.

A buy-bust operation is vastly different from an ordinary arrest. In lawful arrests in the course of a buy-bust operation, it becomes both the duty and

the right of the apprehending officers to conduct a warrantless search not only on the person of the accused but also in the permissible area within his reach, that point which is within the effective control of the person arrested, or that which may furnish him the means of committing violence or escaping (People vs. Cuenco, 298 SCRA 621, 1998). In other words, a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest may extend beyond the person of the one arrested to include the premises or surroundings under his immediate control. (People vs. Uy, G.R. Nos. 144506- 07, 04/11/2002)

PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE

The plain view doctrine is not an

exception to the warrant – it merely serves to supplement the prior justification, whether it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search as an incident to a lawful arrest or some other legitimate reason for being present, unconnected with a search directed against the accused.

The immediate requirement means that the executing officer can, at the time of discovery of the object or the facts therein available to him, determine probable cause of the object’s incriminating evidence – to be immediate, probable cause must be the direct result of the officer’s instantaneous sensory perception of the object.

The requirement of inadvertence means that the officer must not have known in advance of the location of the evidence and intend to seize it.

The immediately apparent test does not require an unduly high degree of certainty as to the incriminating character of evidence – incriminating means the furnishing of evidence as proof of circumstances tending to prove the guilt of a person

Probable cause is a flexible, common sense standard, merely requiring that the facts available to the officer would warrant a man of reasonable caution and belief that certain items may be contrabanded or stolen property or useful as evidence of a crime – a practical, non- traditional probability that incriminating evidence is involved is all that is required.

The immediately apparent aspect is central to the plain view exception. It is not enough to prove that the sealed boxes were in the plain view of the NBI agents – evidence should be adduced to prove the existence of all the essential requirements

for the application of the doctrine during the hearing of the motion to quash. (United Laboratories, Inc. vs. Isip, G.R. No. 163858, 6/28/2005)

SEARCH WARRANTS

Still, no provision of law exists

which requires that a warrant, partially

defective in specifying some items sought to be seized yet particular with respect to

the other items, should be nullified as a

whole. A partially defective warrant

remains valid as to the items not sufficiently described in the warrant. A search warrant is severable, the items not sufficiently described may be cut off without destroying the whole warrant.

The exclusionary rule found in Sec. 3(2) of

Article III of the Constitution renders inadmissible in any proceeding all evidence obtained through unreasonable searches and seizure.

A search warrant proceeding is, in

no sense, a criminal action or the

commencement of a prosecution – it is a

special and peculiar remedy, drastic in nature, and made necessary because of public necessity, resembling in some respect with what is commonly known as John Doe proceedings.

A search warrant is a legal process

which has been likened to a writ of

discovery employed by the State to procure relevant evidence of crime – it is in the nature of a criminal process, restricted to cases of public prosecutions and not a process for adjudicating civil rights or maintaining mere private rights.

A private individual or a private

corporation complaining to the NBI or to a

government agency charged with the enforcement of special penal laws, such as

the BFAD, may appear, participate and file

pleadings in the search warrant proceedings to maintain, inter alia, to validity of the search warrant issued by

the court and the admissibility of the properties.

A search warrant is not a sweeping

authority empowering a raiding party undertake a fishing expedition to seize and confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or articles relating to a crime. (United Laboratories, Inc. vs. Isip, G.R. No. 163858, 6/28/2005)

Upon the filing of the application for

search warrant, the RTC was duty-bound

to determine whether probable cause

existed.

In the determination of probable cause, the court must necessarily resolve

8

whether or not an offense exists to justify the issuance of a search warrant or the quashal of one already issued by the court

The absence or probable cause will cause the outright nullification f the search warrant. (Ching vs. Salinas, G.R. No. 161295, 6/29/2005)

The “probable cause” for a

valid search warrant has been defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. In determining the existence of probable cause, the examining magistrate must make a probing and exhaustive, not merely a routine or pro forma examination of the applicant and the witness. (Betoy, Sr. vs. Califlores, 484 SCRA 435)

DOCTRINE OF ELECTION OF REMEDIES

In its broad sense, election of

remedies refers to the choice by a party to

an action of one of two or more coexisting

remedial rights, where several such rights arise out of the same facts, but the term has been generally limited to a choice by a party between inconsistent remedial rights, the assertion of one being necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation of the other.

While some American authorities hold that the mere initiation of proceeding constitutes a binding choice of remedies that precludes pursuit of alternative courses, the better rule is that no binding election occurs before a decision on the merits is had or a detriment to the other party supervenes.

Nothing in the Rules signifies that

the necessary inclusion of a civil action in

a criminal case for violation of the

Bouncing Checks Law precludes the institution in an estafa case of the corresponding civil action, even if both offenses relate to the issuance of the same check.

What Sec. 1(b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court prohibits is the reservation to file the corresponding civil action. The fact that the Rules do not allow the reservation of civil actions in BP 22 cases cannot deprive the private complainant of the right to protect her interests in the criminal actions for estafa – in promulgating the Rules, the Supreme Court did not intend to leave the offended parties without any remedy to protect their interests in estafa.

A recovery by the offended party under one remedy necessarily bars that under the other – obviously stemming from the fundamental rule against unjust enrichment, this is in essence the rationale for the proscription in our law against double recovery for the same act or omission. (Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada. G.R. No. 155531-34, 7/29/2005)

BAIL

A bail application does not only

involve the right of the accused to temporary liberty, but likewise the right of the State to protect the people and the peace of the community from dangerous elements. To appreciate the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt, the prosecution must be consulted or heard. It is equally entitled as the accused to due process. The prosecution must be given ample opportunity to show that the evidence of guilt is strong. (People vs. Antona, G.R. No. 137681, 01/31/2002)

Without

bail,

an

accused

under

detention cannot be released

person

applying for bail should be in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of liberty. (Inoturan vs. Limsiaco, Jr., A.M. No. MTJ- 01-1362,En Banc, 5/6/2005)

It

is

a

dictum

that

a

APPLICATION FOR BAIL IS NOT A WAIVER TO ASSAIL IRREGULARITY

Application for bail or the admission

to bail is no longer considered as a waiver of the accused’s right to assail the warrant issued for his arrest as regards its attendant illegalities or irregularities. (Almonte vs. Bien, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1532,

6/27/2005)

HEARING IN APPLICATION FOR BAIL

Under the present rules, a hearing

on an application for bail is mandatory – whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, the prosecutor should be given reasonable notice of hearing, or at least his recommendation on the matter must be sought. Regardless of quantity, the sale, trade, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of shabu is punishable by life imprisonment to death. To grant an application for bail and fix the amount thereof without a hearing duly called for the purpose of determination whether the evidence of guilt is strong constitutes gross ignorance or incompetence whose grossness cannot be excused by a claim of good faith or excusable negligence.

9

The prosecutor has the right to control the quantum of evidence and the order of presentation of the witnesses, in support of the denial of bail, it is beyond a judge’s authority to compel the public prosecutor to exercise its discretion in a way the judge deems fit, so long as such exercise of discretion will not defeat the purpose for which the hearing was held, i.e., to determine whether strong evidence of guilt exists such that the accused may not be entitled to bail. (Mabutas vs. Parello, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1817,RTJ-04-1820,

6/8/2005)

Respondent judge should not have

granted bail simply on the failure of the prosecution to prove that the evidence of guilt of the accused was strong but should have endeavored to determine the existence of such evidence. Under the present rules, a hearing is required in granting bail whether it is a matter of right or discretion. A motion to reduce the amount of bail likewise requires a hearing before it is granted in order to afford the prosecution the chance to oppose it. In this jurisdiction, whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, reasonable notice of hearing is required to be given to the prosecutor of fiscal, or at least he must be asked for his recommendation. If the prosecution refuses to adduce evidence or fails to interpose an objection, it is still mandatory for the court to conduct a hearing or ask searching and clarificatory questions. In fact, even in cases where there is no petition for bail, a hearing should still be held. (Te vs. Perea, A.M. No. MTJ-00-1286, 01/21/2002)

BAIL, WHERE FILED

the

Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure now provides that bail in the amount fixed may

be filed with the court where the case is pending, or in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with another branch of the same court within the province or city. (Catiis vs. CA, 482 SCRA 71, February 9, 2006)

Section

17

of

Rule

114

of

If the accused is arrested in a

province, city or municipality, other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed with any Regional Trial Court of said place, or if no judge thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge therein – a judge in any other place has no authority to act thereon. (Inoturan vs. Limsiaco, Jr., A.M. No. MTJ- 01-1362, En Banc, 5/6/2005)

BAIL, WHEN DISCRETIONARY

If the accused is charged with an

offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the judge should not grant bail for his provisional release regardless of whether or not the prosecutor recommends bail for the provisional release of the accused. However, if the accused has been brought

under custody of the court, he may file a petition for bail for his provisional liberty.

If after the requisite hearing, the court

finds that the evidence of the accused is strong, the petition shall be denied. Consequently, the accused will remain under the custody of the court. However, if the evidence of guilt of the accused is not strong, the petition shall be granted and the accused discharged upon approval of

the bail bond, in such amount fixed by the court, taking into consideration the guidelines set forth in Sec. 9 of Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,

in tandem with DOJ Department Circular

No. 74 as well as the recommendation of the public prosecutor. (People vs. Hu Ruey Chun, G.R. No. 158064, 6/30/2005)

Every judge should know by heart

that in indictments for capital offenses like syndicated estafa, bail should not be

granted when the evidence of guilt is strong. (Bitoon vs. Toledo-Mupas, A.M. No. MTJ-05-1598, 8/9/2005)

A person charged with a capital

offense is not absolutely denied the opportunity to obtain provisional liberty on bail pending the judgment of his case. However, as to such person, bail is not a matter of right but is discretionary upon the court. Had the rule been otherwise, the Rules would not have provided for an application for bail by a person charged with a capital offense under Rule 114.

Under the foregoing, there must be

a showing that the evidence of guilt

against a person charged with a capital offense is not strong for the court to grant him bail. Thus, upon an application for bail

by the person charged with a capital offense, a hearing thereon must be conducted, where the prosecution must be accorded an opportunity to discharge its burden of proving that the evidence of guilt against an accused is strong. The prosecution shall be accorded the opportunity to present all the evidence it

may deem necessary for this purpose. When it is satisfactorily demonstrated that the evidence of guilt is strong, it is the court’s duty to deny the application for bail. However, when the evidence of guilt

is not enough, bail becomes a matter of

right. (Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148468, 01/28/2003)

10

APPLICATION FOR BAIL AND FILING A MOTION TO QUASH SIMULTANEOUSLY

The Court finds that no such

inconsistency exists between an application of an accused for bail and his filing of a motion to quash. Bail is the security given for the release of a person in the custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before any court as required under the conditions set forth under the Rules of Court. Its purpose is to obtain the provisional liberty of a person charged with an offense until his conviction while at the same time securing his appearance at the trial. As stated earlier, a person may apply for bail from the moment that he is deprived of his liberty by virtue of his arrest.

On the other hand, a motion to quash an information is the mode by which an accused assails the validity of a criminal complaint or information filed against him for insufficiency, or for defects, which are apparent in the facts of the information. An accused may file a motion to quash the information as a general rule, before arraignment.

see

provisional liberty does not preclude his right to assail the validity of the information charging him with such offense. (Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148468, 01/28/2003)

The right

of an accused

to

WHEN

STRONG

THE EVIDENCE

OF GUILT

IS

The constitutional mandate makes

the grant or denial of bail in capital offenses hinge on the issue of whether or not the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong. This requires that the trial court conduct bail hearings wherein both the prosecution and the defense are afforded sufficient opportunity to present their respective evidence. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution to show strong evidence of guilt. The Court is not in a position to grant bail to the petitioner as the matter requires evidentiary hearing that should be conducted by the Sandiganbayan. (Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148965, 02/26/2002)

DUTY OF THE JUDGE IN GRANTING BAIL APPLICATION

The absence of objection from the

prosecution in such cases is never a basis for the grant of bail in such cases for the judge has no right to presume that the

prosecutor knows what he is doing on account of the familiarity with the case.

Judicial discretion is the domain of the judge before whom the petition for provisional liberty will be decided. The mandated duty to exercise discretion has never been reposed upon the prosecutor.

We reiterate the following duties of judges in case an application for bail is filed: (1) in all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation; (2) where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion, and; (3) Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution; and if the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the bail bond. Otherwise the bail should be denied. (Te vs. Perea, A.M. No. MTJ-00- 1286, 01/21/2002)

ORDER GRANTING BAIL

While an accused charged with a

capital offense is not entitled to bail at any time during trial when the evidence of guilt is strong, it does not mean, however, that a grant thereof can be questioned any time and without regard to the period of filing provided by the Rules of Court.

An order granting bail is an interlocutory order. The word interlocutory refers to something intervening between the commencement and the end of a suit which decides some point or matter but is not a final decision of the whole controversy. The 60-day period within which to file a special civil action for certiorari was specifically set to avoid any unreasonable delay that would violate the constitutional rights of parties to a speedy disposition of their cases. (Pobre vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 141805, 7/8/2005)

a

possible extraditee only upon a clear and convincing proof (1) that he will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community, and (2) that there exists special,

humanitarian and compelling circumstances. (Rodriguez vs. Presiding Judge, RTC, Manila, Br. 17, 483 SCRA 290, March 27, 2006)

Bail may

be granted

to

CANCELLATION OF BAIL BOND

11

Petitioner submits that by

surrendering the accused who is now in jail, her application for cancellation of bail in the four criminal cases is allowed under Sec. 19, now Sec. 22 of Rule 114 of the revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, which provides: “Sec. 22. Cancellation of bail — Upon application of the bondsmen, with due notice to the prosecutor, the bail may be cancelled upon surrender of the accused or proof of his death.”

The

bail

shall

be

deemed

automatically cancelled upon acquittal of the accused, dismissal of the case, or execution of the judgment of conviction. In all instances, the cancellation shall be without prejudice to any liability on the bail.

Petitioner’s submission is misplaced. The first paragraph of Sec. 22 contemplates of a situation, where, among others, the surety or bondsman surrenders the accused to the court that ordered the latter’s arrest. Thereafter, the court, upon application by the surety or bondsman, cancels the bail bond. We hold that the cash bail bond cannot be cancelled. Petitioner did not surrender the accused, charged in the four criminal cases, to the trial court. The accused was arrested and detained because he was charged in a subsequent criminal case. Moreover, the bail bond posted for the accused was in the form of cash deposit, which as mandated by Sec. 14 of Rule 114, shall be applied to the payment of fine and costs, and the excess if any, shall be returned to the accused or to any person who made the deposit. (Esteban vs. Alhambra, G.R. No. 135012, 9/7/2004)

FORFEITURE OF BAIL BOND

There are two occasions upon which

the trial court judge may rule adversely

against the bondsmen in cases when the accused fails to appear in court, first summary forfeiture of the bond and, second, judgment against the amount of the bond.

Judgment against the bondsmen on the bond may be construed as a final order hence subject to appeal. (Reliance Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Amante, Jr., G.R. No. 150994, 6/ 30/ 2005)

cancellation of

petitioner’s bail, without prior notice and hearing, could be considered a violation of co-petitioner’s right to due process tantamount to grave abuse of discretion. (Rodriguez vs. Presiding Judge, RTC,

The

Manila, Br. 17, 483 SCRA 290, March 27,

2006)

ARRAIGNMENT BEFORE BAIL

In Lavides vs. Court of Appeals, this

Court ruled on the issue of whether an accused must first be arraigned before he may be granted bail. In cases whether it is authorized, bail should be granted before arraignment, otherwise the accused may be precluded from filing a motion to quash.

However, the foregoing pronouncement should not be taken to mean that the hearing on a petition for bail should at all times precede arraignment, because the rule is that a person deprived of his liberty by virtue of his arrest or voluntary surrender may apply for bail as soon as he is deprived of his liberty, even before a complaint or information is filed against him. It is therefore not necessary that an accused be first arraigned before the conduct of hearings on his applications for bail. For when bail is a matter of right, an accused may apply for and be granted bail even prior to arraignment. The ruling in Lavides also implies that an application for bail in a case involving an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua to death may also be heard even before an accused is arraigned. Further, if the court finds in such case that the accused is entitled to bail because the evidence against him is not strong, he may be granted provisional liberty even prior to arraignment; for in such a situation, bail would be authorized under the circumstances. (Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148468,

01/28/2003)

ARRAIGNMENT, HOW MADE

Sec. 1(a) of Rule 116 of the Rules of

Court mandates that an accused be arraigned in open court and tasked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty of the crime charged. The purpose of arraignment is, thus, to inform the accused of the possible loss of freedom, even of his life, depending on the nature of the crime imputed to him, or at the very least to inform him of why the prosecuting arm of the State is mobilized against him. Consequently, when accused-appellant entered a negative plea during his arraignment, the same was not binding on the court as an indication of his innocence. Rather, it is a general denial of the charges impugned against him and an exercise of his right to be heard of his plea. (People vs. Montero, G.R. No. 130709, 03/06/2002)

12

SEARCHING INQUIRY

Under established principles, a

searching inquiry must not only comply

with the requirements of Sec. 1, par (a) of Rule 116 but must also expound on the events that actually took place during the arraignment, the words spoken and the warnings given, with special attention to the age of the accused, his educational attainment and socio-economic status as well as the manner of his arrest and detention, the provision of counsel in his behalf during the custodial and preliminary investigations, and the opportunity of his defense counsel to confer with him. These matters are relevant since they serve as trustworthy indicia of his capacity to give a free and informed plea of guilt. Lastly, the trial court must explain the essential elements

of the five crimes he was charged with and

their respective penalties and civil liabilities and also direct a series of questions to defense counsel to determine whether he was conferred with the accused and has completely explained to him the meaning of a plea of guilt. This formula is mandatory and absent any showing that it was followed, a searching inquiry cannot be said to have not been undertaken. (People vs. Molina, G.R. No. 141129-33, 12/14/2001)

INVALID ARRAIGNMENT

Verily a judgment of conviction

cannot stand upon an invalid arraignment. Since the vice of nullity affects not only the criminal cases for incestuous rape under automatic review but also the criminal case for attempted rape notwithstanding the absence of a notice of appeal in the latter. (People vs. Molina, G.R. Nos. 141129-33, 12/14/2001)

WAIVER OF RIGHT TO A SUSPENSION OF ARRAIGNMENT

The arraignment was made on

October 22, 1997. At the time, what was applicable was Sec. 12(q) of Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.

Nowhere in that section was it required that a motion by the accused be filed for the suspension of arraignment. Hence, the absence of such motion could

not be considered a waiver of the right to

a suspension of arraignment. True, Sec.

11(a) of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which was invoked by the OSG, requires a motion by the proper party.

This new requirement of “motion by the proper party” could not be applied

to these cases because the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which prescribes such requirement, took effect only on 1 December 2000. (People vs. Alcalde, G.R. Nos. 139225-28, 05/29/2002)

ARRAIGNMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF DEFENDANT’S COUNSEL DE PARTE

The

appointment

of

a

counsel de oficio in the absence of the defendant’s counsel de parte is not prohibited, not even by the Constitution, especially when the accused himself requests that appointment. (Lumanlaw vs. Peralta, Jr., 482 SCRA 396, February 13, 2006)

SUSPENSION DUE TO INSANITY/ IMBECILITY OF THE ACCUSED

Settled is the rule that when a judge

is informed or discovered that an accused is apparently in a present condition of insanity or imbecility, it is within his discretion to investigate the matter. If it was found that by reason of such affliction the accused could not, with the aid of counsel, make a proper defense, it is the duty of the court to suspend the proceedings and commit the accused to a proper place of detention until his faculties are recovered. Moreover, the aforementioned Sec. 12(a) of Rule 116 mandates the suspension of the arraignment and the mental examination of the accused should it appear that he is of unsound mind. (People vs. Alcalde, G.R. Nos. 139225-28, 05/29/2002)

WHEN PUNISHMENT IS DEATH

Where the punishment to be

inflicted is death, it is not enough that the information be read to the accused or even translated into the dialect they speak. This is because the implementation of such penalty is irrevocable, and experience has shown that innocent persons have at times pleaded guilty. The trial court must avoid improvident pleas of guilt, since the accused might be admitting their guilt and thus forfeiting their lives and liberties without having fully understood the meaning, significance or consequences of their pleas. (People vs. Galvez, G.R. No. 135053, 03/06/2002)

PLEA OF SELF – DEFENSE

It

has

been held that the

plea of

self-defense

cannot

be

justifiably

entertained

when

it

is

not only

uncorroborated

by

any

separate

competent evidence but is also extremely

13

doubtful in itself. (People vs. Herrera, G.R. No. 140557, 12/05/2001)

IMPROVIDENT PLEA OF GUILTY

Our jurisdiction does not subscribe

to a per se rule that once a plea of guilty is

deemed improvidently made that the accused-appellant is at once entitled to a remand. To warrant a remand of the criminal case, it must also be proved that as a result of such irregularity there was inadequate representation of facts by either the prosecution of the defense during trial. In People vs. Abapo we found that undue reliance upon an invalid plea of guilty prevented the prosecution from fully presenting its evidence, and thus remanded the criminal case for further proceedings.

Where the facts are however adequately represented in the criminal case and no procedural unfairness or irregularity has prejudiced either the prosecution of the defense as a result of the improvident plea of guilty, the settled rule is that a decision based on an irregular plea may nevertheless be upheld where the judgment is supported beyond reasonable doubt by other evidence on record since it would be a useless ritual to return the case to the trial court for another arraignment and further proceedings. (People vs. Molina, G.R. Nos. 141129-33, 12/14/2001)

MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO WITHDRAW INFORMATION, DISTINGUISHED

A motion to withdraw information

differs from a motion to dismiss. While both put an end to an action filed in court, their legal effect varies. An order granting the withdrawal of the information attains finality after 15 days from receipt thereof, without prejudice to the re-filing of the information upon reinvestigation. An order granting a motion to dismiss becomes final 15 days after receipt thereof, with prejudice to the re-filing of the same case once such order achieves finality.

Unlike a motion to dismiss, a motion to withdraw information is not time-barred and does not fall within the ambit of Sec. 8 of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides that the law on provisional dismissal becomes operative once the judge dismisses, with the express consent of the accused and with notice to the offended party. (Torres, Jr. vs. Aguinaldo, G.R. No. 164268, 6/29/2005)

PROVISIONAL DISMISSAL

There is provisional dismissal when

a motion filed expressly for that purpose complies with the following requisites, (1) it must be with the express consent of the accused, and; (2) there must be notice to the offended party. Sec. 8 of Rule 117 contemplates the filing of a motion to dismiss, and not a motion to withdraw information. (Torres, Jr. vs. Aguinaldo, G.R. No. 164268, 6/29/2005)

MOTION TO QUASH

The

court

may

not

quash

an

information for lack of probable cause. Under Section 3, Rule 117, of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, a motion to quash an information may be filed only for the following grounds, to wit:

a) that the facts charged do not constitute an offense;

b) that the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged;

c) that the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the accused;

d) that the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;

e) that it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;

f) that more than one offense is charged except when a single punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law;

g) that the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;

h) that it contain averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification, and;

i) that the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offese charged, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.

To quash means to annul, vacate or overthrow. The absence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is not a ground for the quashal of an information but is a ground for the dismissal of the case.

It bears stressing that, even before the effectivity of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedures, The RTC issues a warrant for the arrest of the accused only upon finding of probable cause based on the resolution of the Investigating Prosecutor. The affidavits and other evidence appended to the information,

14

whatever evidence the prosecutor may adduce upon order of the court. If the court finds that there is no probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest, it may dismiss the case. The dismissal of the case is without prejudice to the refiling thereof, unless barred by prescription. The trial court is mandated to immediately dismiss the case upon finding no probable cause exists to issue a warrant of arrest, and after having evaluated the resolution of the prosecutor and the supporting evidence.

of

probable cause is to be determined from the material averments of the information

and the appendages thereof, as enumerated in Sec. 8 of Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

The

absence

or

presence

By quashing the information on the premise of lack of probable cause instead of merely dismissing the case, the Sandiganbayan acted in violation of the case law and, thus, acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction. (People of the Philippines vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 144159, 9/29/2004)

to

quash is interlocutory and therefore not appealable, nor can it be subject of apetition for certiorari unless there is a grave abuse of discretion. (Principio vs. Barrientos, 478 SCRA 639, 2006)

The

order

denying

a

motion

A special civil action for certiorari is

not the proper remedy to assail the denial of a motion to quash an information. The proper procedure in such a case is for the accused to enter a plea, go to trial without prejudice on his part to present the special defenses he had invoked in his motion to quash and, if after trial on the merits, an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law. (Sasot vs. People, G.R. No. 143193, 6/29/2005; Soriano vs. Casanova, 486 SCRA 431, March 31, 2006)

A special civil action for certiorari

and prohibition is not the proper remedy to assail the denial of a motion to quash an information. The established rule is that when such an adverse interlocutory order is rendered, the remedy is not to resort forthwith to certiorari or prohibition, but to continue with the case in due course and, when an unfavorable verdict is handed down to take an appeal in the manner authorized by law. Only when the court issued such order without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion and when the assailed interlocutory order is patently erroneous

and the remedy of appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious relief will certiorari be considered an appropriate remedy to assail an interlocutory order. No such special circumstances are present in the case at bar. (Madarang vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 143044, 7/14/2005)

QUASHAL OF INFORMATION ON THE GROUND THAT IT CHARGES NO OFFENSE

Fundamental is the rule that a

criminal complaint or information must state every single fact necessary to constitute the offense charged; otherwise, the information or complaint may be quashed on the ground that it charges no offense. If an accused files a motion to quash an information on this ground, he thereby hypothetically admits the truth of the averments therein. The test in the resolving a motion to quash on the ground that the information charges no offense is whether the material facts alleged in the complaint or information will establish the essential elements of the offense charges as defined in the law. The trial court may not consider a situation contrary to that set forth in the criminal complaint or information. (Torres vs. Garchitorena, G.R. No. 153666, 12/27/2003)

As a general prerequisite, a motion

to quash on the ground that the Information does not constitute the offense charged, or any offense for that matter, should be resolved on the basis of said allegations whose truth and veracity are hypothetically committed, and on additional facts admitted or not denied by the prosecution. (Laurel vs. Abrogar, 483 SCRA 243)

EFFECT OF FILING OF INFORMATION CHARGING AN INCUMBENT OFFICER OF A CRIME

Suspension from office is

mandatory whenever a valid Information charges an incumbent public officer with (1) violation of RA 3019; (2) violation of Title 7, Book II of the RPC; (3) any offense involving fraud upon government; or (4) any offense involving fraud upon public funds or property. (Bustillo vs. Sandiganbayan, 486 SCRA 545)

DISCHARGE OF WITNESS

Granting ex gratia argumenti that

not all the requisites of a valid discharge are present, the improper discharge of an accused will not render inadmissible his testimony nor detract from his competency as a witness. Any witting or

15

unwitting error of the prosecution in asking for the discharge, and of the court in granting the petition, no question of jurisdiction being involved, cannot deprive the discharged accused of the acquittal provided by the rules, and of the constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy. (People vs. Verceles, G.R. No. 130650, 09/10/2002)

is given the

power to discharge an accused as a witness only because it has already acquired the prosecution from utilizing said person as a witness. (Pontejos vs. Office of the Ombudsman, 483 SCRA 83)

Trial court

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

no other direct

evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense

committed except the testimony of the accused;

testimony of

said accused can be substantially

corroborated in its material points;

accused

does not appear to be the most guilty, and;

accused

has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude. (People vs. Verceles, G.R. No. 130650, 09/10/2002)

4.

3.

2.

said

said

5.

Fact that an individual

 

After trial on the merits, an acquittal

had not been previously charged or included in an information does not

is

immediately

final

and

cannot

be

prevent the prosecution from utilizing said

appealed

on

the

ground

of

double

person as a witness. (Pontejos vs. Office of

jeopardy.

The

only

exception

where

the Ombudsman, 483 SCRA 83)

double jeopardy

cannot

be

invoked

is

where

resulting

(People vs. Tria-Tirona, G.R. No. 130106,

7/15/2005)

there

in

a

is

a

finding

of

of

mistrial

process.

denial

due

A judgment of acquittal cannot be

reopened, absent a grave abuse of discretion or a denial of due process to the State. (People vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 152532, 8/16/2005)

There is no double jeopardy when

the accused are being prosecuted for an act or incident punished by four national statutes and not by an ordinance and a national statute. (Loney vs. People, 482 SCRA 194, February 10, 2006)

Double jeopardy cannot be invoked

where the accused has not been arraigned and it was upon his express motion that

the case was dismissed. (Miranda vs. Tuliao, 486 SCRA 377, March 31, 2006)

STATE WITNESS

The prosecutorial powers include

the discretion of granting immunity to an accused in exchange for testimony against another. (Pontejos vs. Office of the Ombudsman, 483 SCRA 83)

The requirements for the discharge

and utilization of an accused as a state witness are enumerated in Sec. 17 of Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedures:

1.

necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested;

absolute

DEMURER TO EVIDENCE

Under Sec. 23 of Rule 119 of the

Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, the trial court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence upon a demurer to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court. Thus, in resolving the accused’s demurer to evidence to sustain the

indictment or support or verdict of guilt. The grant or denial of a demurer to evidence is left to the sound discretion of the trial court, and its ruling on the matter shall not be disturbed in the absence of a grave abuse of discretion. Significantly, once the court grants the demurer, such order amounts to the acquittal and any further prosecution of the accused would violate the constitutional prescription on double jeopardy. This constitutes an exception to the rule that the dismissal of

a criminal case made with the express

consent of the accused or upon his motion bars plea of double jeopardy. (People vs. Sandiganbayan, et. al., G.R. No. 140633,

02/04/2002)

SUBPOENA

A subpoena is a process directed to

a person requiring him to attend and to

testify at the hearing or trial of an action or at any investigation conducted under

the laws of the Philippines, or for the taking of his deposition. A subpoena duces tecum is used to compel the production of books, records, things or documents therein specified.

Well-settled is the rule that before

a subpoena duces tecum may issue, the

court must first be satisfied that the

16

following requisites are present: (1) the books, documents or other things requested must appear prima facie relevant to the issue subject of the controversy (test of relevancy), and; (2) such books must be reasonably described by the parties to be readily identified (test of definiteness). (Roco vs. Contreras, G.R. No. 158275, 6/28/2005)

TRIAL IN ABSENTIA

By the mere fact that the petitioner

jumped bail and could no longer be found, the petitioner is considered to have waived her right to be present at the trial.

Once the accused escapes from prison or jumps bail or flees to a foreign country, he loses his standing in court and unless he surrenders or submits to the jurisdiction of the court, he is deemed to have waived any right to seek relief from the court.

Due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy.

Promulgation of judgment in absentia is valid provided that the essential elements are present: (a) that the judgment be recorded in the criminal docket, and; (b) that a copy be served upon the accused or counsel.

the

criminal docket of the court satisfies the

requirement of notifying the accused of the decision wherever he may be. (Estrada vs. People, G.R. No. 162371,

8/25/2005)

Recording

the

decision

in

CROSS-EXAMINATION

Procedural due process

demands that a lawyer should be given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses against him. (Uytengsu III vs. Baduel, 477 SCRA 621, 2006)

The act of a judge in

allowing the presentation of the defense witness in the absence of the complainant public prosecutor or a private prosecutor designated for the purpose is a clear transgression of the Rules which could not be rectified by subsequently giving the prosecution a chance to cross-examine the witness. (Pinote vs. Ayco, 477 SCRA 409, 2006)

PREJUDICIAL QUESTION

Prejudicial question is defined as that which arises in a case the resolution

of which is a logical antecedent to the issue, involved in said case and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. (People vs. Sandiganbayan, 485 SCRA 473, March 28, 2006)

Prejudicial question generally comes

into play in a situation where a civil action and a criminal action are both pending and there exists in the former an issue that must be preemptively resolved before the criminal action may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the civil action is resolved would be determinative juris et de jure of the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case. (Yu vs. Philippine Commercial International Bank, 485 SCRA 56, March 17, 2006)

CIVIL LIABILITY IN CRIMINAL CASES

Under Art. 29 of the Civil Code,

when the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission

may be instituted. The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the

accused for damages

it

includes a declaration of the fact from

not

which the liability might exist.

only

arise

when

did

An accused who is acquitted of estafa may nevertheless be held civilly liable where the facts established by the evidence so warrant. Petitioner is clearly liable to the private respondent for the amount borrowed. The CA found that the former did not employ trickery or deceit in obtaining money from the private complainants, instead, it concluded that the money obtained was undoubtedly loans for which petitioner as payment for the principal loan, constitute evidence of her liability which was deemed instituted with the criminal action. (Eusebio- Calderon vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 158495, 10/21/ 2004)

While a reading of the aforequoted

provisions shows that the offended party is required to make a reservation of his right to institute a separate civil action, jurisprudence instructs that such reservation may not necessary be expressed but may be implied which may be inferred not only from the acts of the offended party but also from the acts other than those of the latter. (Sarmiento, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 122502,

12/27/2002)

Under the present revised Rules,

the criminal action for violation of BP 22

17

shall be deemed

corresponding civil action.

to

include

the

The inclusion of the civil action in the criminal case is expected to significantly lower the number of cases filed before the courts for collection based on dishonored checks.

The pendency of the civil action before the court trying the criminal case bars the filing of another civil action in another court on the ground of litis pendentia.

The court will certainly not allow the complainant to recover a sum of money twice based on the same set of checks, nor will it allow it to proceed with two actions based on the same set of checks to increase its chances of obtaining a favorable ruling - such runs counter to the court’s policy against forum shopping. (Hyatt Industrial Manufacturing Corp. vs. Asia Dynamic Electric Corp., G.R. No. 163597, 7/29/2005)

JUDGMENT

FOR

TWO

OR

MORE

OFFENSES

Under Sec. 3 of Rule 120 of the

Rules of Court, when two or more offenses are charged in a single complaint or information and the accused fails to object to it before trial, the court may convict the accused of as many offenses as are charged and proved and impose on him the penalty for each of them. Furthermore, Sec. 1 of Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, states that the accused may move to quash the information at any time before entering his plea.

Accused-appellants did not, within the prescribed period, file such motion on the ground of duplicity. They are deemed to have waived the defect in the information. Through accused-appellant’s failure to object to the duplicitous charges, they effectively waived their right against multiple offenses in a single information. (People vs. Pacificador, G.R. No. 126515,

02/06/2002)

JUDGE WHO TRIED THE CASE IS NOT THE JUDGE WHO PENNED THE DECISION

The fact that the judge who tried

the case was different from the judge who penned the decision does not in any way taint the same. Indeed, the efficacy of a decision is not necessarily impaired by the fact that its writer only took over from a colleague who had earlier presided at the trial, unless there is showing of grave abuse of discretion in the factual findings

reached by him. Moreover, a judge who was not present during the trial can rely on the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the trail as basis of his decision. Such reliance does not violate substantive and procedural due process of law. (People vs. Sansaet, G.R. No. 139330,

02/06/2002)

Sec. 14(1) of Article VII of the 1987

Constitution provides that the judgment must clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is base. One of the purposes of the constitutional requirement is to assure the parties that the judge arrived at his decision through the processes of legal and factual reasoning. (People vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 140633, 02/04/2002)

PERIOD FOR DECIDING THE CASE

non-

observance of the period for deciding cases or their incidents does not render such judgments ineffective or void. (Kho vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 115758,

03/19/2002)

It

is

well

settled

that

ACQUITTAL OF AN ACCUSED IS NOT A BASIS FOR ACQUITTAL OF ANOTHER FOR THE SAME CRIME

A decision acquitting the

accused of a crime cannot be the basis of the dismissal of criminal case against different accused for the same crime. (Miranda vs. Tuliao, 486 SCRA 377, March 31, 2006)

APPEALS IN CRIMINAL CASES

In a criminal case, an appeal throws

the whole case wide open for review. Issues whether raised or not by the parties may be resolved by the appellate court. (Jan-Dec Construction Corporation vs. CA, 481 SCRA 556, February 6, 2006)

When petitioner appealed her

conviction, the dismissal of the interest checks by the lower court did not preclude the Court of Appeals from reviewing such decision and modifying her civil liability. The appeal conferred upon the appellate court full jurisdiction and rendered it competent to examine the records, revise the judgment appealed from, increase the penalty and cite the proper provision of the penal law. (Eusebio-Calderon vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 158495,

10/21/2004)

Under BP 22, as amended, the CA

has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the RTC in the exercise of its

18

original jurisdiction. Under Sec. 2 of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, as amended, the aggrieved party may appeal from the said decision by filing a notice of appeal and paying the requisite docket fees therefore within fifteen days from notice of said decision. However, the CA has no jurisdiction over appeals from the decision of the RTC rendered in the exercise of its original jurisdiction in cases where the issues raised are purely legal. In such a case, the remedy of the aggrieved party is to appeal the decision via a petition for review on certiorari in this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. (Traverse Development Corporation vs. DBP, G.R. No. 150888, 9/24/2004)

Except in criminal cases where the

penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or death, all appeals to the Supreme Court are not a matter of right but of sound discretion. Appeal in criminal cases where the penalty of reclusion perpetua or death is imposed is a matter of right. (People vs. Flores, 481 SCRA 451, January 31, 2006)

The Supreme Court has sole

authority to review the Ombudsman’s resolutions in criminal cases, on pure questions of law, while appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. (Lanting vs. Ombudsman, G.R. No. 141426, 5/6/2005)

The sister of the deceased has legal

standing to file a petition for certiorari in a criminal case for parricide as she is a

party-litigant who is akin to the ‘offended party’ she being a close relative of the decease.

A petition for review under Rule 45, not a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, is the proper remedy in assailing final dispositions of a case before the Court of Appeals. In any case, the Court may disregard petitioner’s lapse and treat the present petition as one for review under Rule 45. This is in accordance with the liberal spirit pervading the Rules of Court and in the interest of substantial justice, especially: (1) if the petition was filed within the reglementary period for filing a petition for review; (2) errors of judgment are averred, and; (3) there is sufficient reason to justify the relaxation of the rules. The petition in this case actually asserts errors of judgment committed by the CA, which are proper in a petition for review, and it is settled that it is the allegations in the complaint or petition and the character of the relief sought that determine the nature of an action. (Pobre

vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 141805,

7/8/2005)

The fact that the petitions was

given due course does not necessarily mean the Court will have to look into the sufficiency of the evidence since the issue to be resolved is the appealability of an acquittal. (People vs. Tria-Tirona, G.R. No. 130106, 7/15/2005)

EFFECT OF DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF PROCEEDINGS

The declaration of nullity of

proceedings should be deemed to carry with it the reinstatement of the orders set aside by the nullified proceedings. (Miranda vs. Tuliao, 486 SCRA 377, March 31, 2006)

CERTIORARI

All criminal actions are prosecuted

under the direction and control of the public prosecutor, and it behooves petitioners to implead the People of the Philippines as respondent in petitions for certiorari to enable the public prosecutor or Solicitor General, as the case may be, to comment on the petitions. (Madarang vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 143044,

7/14/2005)

PROBATION

An accused shall not be allowed bail

after the judgment has become final, unless he has applied for probation before

commencing to serve sentence, the penalty and the offense being within the purview of the Probation Law. (Vicente vs. Majaducon, 461 SCRA 12, A.M. No. RTJ-02- 1698, 6/30/2005)

A conviction becomes final when

the accused applies for probation. The guard of probation does not remove a court employee from the purview of the applicable provisions of the Administrative Code and the Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Oder No. 292 and Other Pertinent Civil Service Laws. (Re:Conviction of Imelda Furtos, Clerk III, RTC, Br. 40, Calapan City for the Crime of Violation of B.P. 22, A.M. No. P-04-1808,

6/27/2005)

The Supreme Court has sole

authority to review the Ombudsman’s resolutions in criminal cases, on pure questions of law, while appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of

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Civil Procedure. (Lanting vs. Ombudsman, G.R. No. 141426, 5/6/2005)

CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN

Administrative Circular No. 10-94 directs all trials judges to make a physical inventory of the cases on their dockets.

Given the rationale behind the Administrative Circular, we hold that it is applicable to the Sandiganbayan with respect to cases within its original and appellate jurisdiction. According to the memorandum submitted by the OCA, there is a practice in the first and third divisions of the Sandiganbayan of unloading cases to other divisions despite the facts that these cases have been submitted for decision before them.

the

practice of unloading cases that greatly contribute to the backlog of undecided cases.

We

suggest

a

review

of

The Sandiganbayan is a special court created in an effort to maintain honesty and efficiency in the bureaucracy, weed out misfits and undesirables in the government and eventually stamp out graft and corruption. We held consistently that a delay of three years in deciding a single case is inexcusably long. We can not accept the excuses of Presiding Justice Sandiganbayan Francis E. Garchitorena that the court was reorganized in 1997, that the new Sandiganbayan relocated tom its present premises which required the packing and carting of records and that some boxes were still unopened.

We likewise find unacceptable Presiding Justice Garchitorena’s excuse that one case alone comprises more than 50% of the First Division’s Backlog and that the same has been set for promulgation on December 8, 2000. As we said, a delay in a single case cannot be tolerated, “para muestra, bastaun boton” (For an example, one button suffices).

Presiding Justice Garchitorena failed to devise an efficient recording and filing system to enable him to monitor the flow of cases and to manage their speedy and timely disposition. This is duty on which he failed. (RE: Problem of Delays in Cases before the Sandiganbayan, A.M. No. 00-8-05-SC, 11/28/2001)

It is the Court’s policy to sustain the

factual findings of the Sandiganbayan since as a trial court it is in a better position to assess the evidence before it.

(Mendoza vs. People, G.R. No. 146234,

6/29/2005)

Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,

a petition for review on certiorari to this

court (from Sandiganbayan decision) is proper only where, as provided for in Sec.

1(a), Rule X of the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan, the penalty imposed is less than death, life imprisonment or relusion perpetua.

the

Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan does not provide for a period to appeal, Sec. 6 of Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure shall apply. (Pondevida vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 160929-31, 8/16/2005)

Since

Sec.

1(b),

Rule

X

of

For an offense to fall under the

exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the following requisites

must concur: (1) the offense committed is

a violation of (a) R.A. 3019, as amended

(the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), (b) R.A. 1379 (the law on ill-gotten wealth), (c) Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code (the law on bribery), (d) Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986 (sequestration

cases), or; (e) other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes; (2) the offender committing the offenses in items (a). (b). (c) and (e) is a public official or employee holding any of the positions enumerated in paragraph A of Sec. 4, and; (3) the offense committed

is in relation to the office.

As long as the offender’s public office is intimately connected with the offense charged or is used to facilitate the commission of the said offense and the same is properly alleged in the information, the Sandiganbayan acquires jurisdiction. (Adaza vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 154886, 7/28/2005)

HOLD-DEPARTURE ORDERS CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN

Circular No. 39-97 provides that hold-departure orders shall be issued only in criminal cases within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Regional Courts. Clearly then, Municipal Trial Courts do not have jurisdiction to issue hold-departure orders and it was an error on the part of MTC Judge Sardido to have issued one in the instant case. (Re: Hold-departure Orders Issued by Judge Sardido, MTC, Koronadal, South Cotabato in Criminal Case No. 19418, AM. No. 01-9-245-MTC,

12/05/2001)

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